Senate debates

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Regulations and Determinations

Marine Parks Network Management Plans; Disallowance

3:30 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

What I was saying before we ran out of time during the last debate was that our marine environment is one of the most unique and spectacular marine environments on the globe. I heard those opposite talk about the fact that Australia has these large marine protected areas. That's good. We also have one of the largest EEZs in the world. So of course we should be putting in place proper protection for these areas. It is hugely disappointing that the government in some areas has changed the level of protection for the areas that are contained within the regional plans. That means that these really important areas, some of which have marine species that are found nowhere else on the planet, are at more risk.

I think what I got up to when we were finishing was talking about the impact of a warming planet on our marine environment. We're still getting an understanding of what that impact is. I also heard those opposite talking about support from some marine conservation organisations for their approach, but I don't think there'd be anybody, certainly from the Greens, who didn't think long and hard about what to do about these plans. As someone who's been fighting since the mid-1980s for bioregional marine planning, it is not without a heavy heart and much thought that I personally came to the conclusion that we really need to keep fighting for better protection and that we need to take a stand. And that's from someone who's fought for years and years to get adequate marine protection. I've had lots of emails from people supporting our stance: that is, to support these disallowances. The bulk of the marine conservation organisations are also saying these plans aren't good enough. I've already articulated why we in Western Australia are deeply concerned, given that we have such a vast marine environment and we have so many special areas: the Bremer Canyon; the Perth Canyon; that whole south-west marine environment; the areas off the Gascoyne coast including Ningaloo and the Rowley Shoals. There are so many important areas. Those areas that I've mentioned are the ones where the level of marine protection has been adversely impacted by these plans.

We will continue to campaign on this issue to make sure that we have a set of marine parks and a set of bioregional marine plans that are the best in the world, that go back to being the best in the world, so Australia can honestly claim that we have the best system for marine protection on the planet. I encourage and ask those who are still making up their mind about these disallowances to support these disallowances so that we can get superlative marine protection in this country.


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